Thank you to everyone who has contacted me regarding trophy hunting and asked me to sign EDM 1829. Unfortunately my position as an opposition whip prevents me from signing EDMs, but I am very happy to set out my views on this.
I strongly believe that the practice of importing hunting trophies is wrong and requires firmer action.
I share your concerns that the UK must tackle the illegal wildlife trade and work to end trophy hunting. Killing endangered wildlife for pleasure only helps push them even further towards extinction. We must also protect these wild animals by supporting the communities that live alongside them, so the conflicts reduce and the poaching stops.
The Opposition consulted on an Animal Welfare Plan between February and May this year. It included a proposal to end the import of wild animal trophies from species that are classified as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and to expand this ban to species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
As you will be aware, the international rules for the import and export of hunting trophies are established under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). It aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
The Government has said that although there are examples of negative effects from big game hunting caused by poor or inappropriate management, trophy and big game hunting can be an effective conservation tool. Nevertheless, it has said it will continue to look very carefully at big game imports.
I hope the Government will listen to the concerns that have been raised by the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, and those of other organisations such as Born Free and the League Against Cruel Sports, as urgent action is needed to ensure the conservation of species around the world.
I have also tabled a written parliamentary question to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, asking what progress his Department has made on developing its policy on imposing a ban on hunting trophy imports.